Category Archives: Cook County

More Suburbs Considering Opting Out of Cook County Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Leave Ordinances

With the July 1st effective date quickly approaching, more and more suburban communities are opting out of the Cook County minimum wage hike and paid sick leave requirements. Home Rule authority allows these local municipalities to opt out of and craft their own legislation to supersede the county legislation.

Nearly 40 municipalities have officially opted out or are expected to do so before the July 1st effective date, including: Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bedford Park, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Elmwood Park, Glenview, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Oak Forest, Palatine, Palos Park, River Forest, Rolling Meadows, Rosemont, Schaumburg, Streamwood, Tinley Park, Western Springs, and Wheeling.

It’s important to note that even if an employee is based in a municipality that has “opted out,” if they are performing work in Chicago or a section of Cook County that hasn’t opted out, the employee may still have a right to some paid sick leave.

Before moving forward with changes to comply with these new Cook County requirements, make sure to check where your municipality stands.

 

 

Paid Sick Leave Coming in Q3

We’re only a few days into Q2, but we wanted to make sure that you’re prepared for a significant legal change that is effective at the beginning of Q3.  Starting July 1st, employees who work in Cook County will have a right to paid sick leave under the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance or both. 

On their surface, the requirements of the Ordinances seem pretty straightforward, leaving many companies to believe that their current PTO or sick leave policy meets the new standards.  However, most of the policies we’ve reviewed to date don’t meet all of the new standards.  This is largely because the Ordinances:

  • Apply to all employees – including part-time employees – who work at least 80 hours in any 120 day period.
  • Allow the employee to carryover up to 20 hours of paid sick leave into the next year (up to 60 for employers that are covered by the FMLA).
  • Require that paid sick leave may be used not just for the employee or a family member’s illness or injury, but also to seek medical care or to care for a family member, in the event that the employee or a family member is the victim of domestic violence, or in the event that the workplace or the employee’s child’s school or place of care is closed due to a public health emergency.
  • Provide that an employer can’t require a note unless the employee is out for more than 3 consecutive days or more.
  • Put limitations on the notice employers can require from employees, including allowing employees to provide last minute notice by phone, email or text.

There are also a couple provisions in the Ordinances that help employers – including capping accrual at 40 hours per year, capping use at 40 or 60 hours per year (depending on the size of the employer and the reason for leave), and not requiring payout on termination.  However, to take advantage of these employer-friendly provisions, it’s important to reflect them in your policy. 

Both Ordinances provide that employees who don’t receive the paid sick time the Ordinances require can file suit and collect triple damages.  We expect Plaintiffs’ attorneys to be out in force looking for potential class actions, so it is important that every company that employs workers in Cook County have their policy reviewed in advance of the July 1st implementation deadline.  Because of the number of sick leave policies we’ve already seen, we are able to review current policies and prepare compliant policies efficiently, on a flat fee basis.

Labor & Employment Practice Group Leader Laura Friedel is available for questions about how these ordinances might affect your company’s policies.

 

Cook County Employers Must Now Provide Paid Sick Leave

buildingCook County has now joined the City of Chicago by passing a paid sick leave ordinance.  The Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, passed on October 5th, mandates that covered employers in Cook County, Illinois, allow eligible employees to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in each 12-month period of their employment. The Ordinance becomes effective on July 1, 2017, although, as noted below, suburbs have the ability to opt out of the ordinance and some may elect to do so.

Coverage

Individuals are entitled to benefits under the Ordinance if they:

  1. perform at least two hours of work for a covered employer while physically present within the geographic boundaries of the County in any particular two-week period; and
  2. work at least 80 hours for a covered employer in any 120-day period.

Covered employers are those with a place of business within Cook County that gainfully employ at least one covered employee. The Ordinance does not apply to collective bargaining agreements in force on July 1, 2017.

Use

Employees can use paid sick leave:

  1. for their own illness, injuries, or medical care (including preventive care);
  2. for the illness, injuries, or medical care of certain covered family members;
  3. if the employee or a family member is a victim of domestic violence or a sex offense; or
  4. if their place of business or the child care facility or school of their child has been closed by an order of a public official due to a public health emergency.

Carry Over, Restrictions on Use, Notice, Termination

Under the Ordinance, employees may carry over half of their unused paid sick leave (up to 20 hours) to the next 12-month period.

Covered employers are permitted to set reasonable minimum increments for the use of paid sick leave, not to exceed four hours a day.

Employers may require that employees provide up to seven days advance notice if the need for paid sick leave is foreseeable. If the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide as much notice as is practical. The Ordinance states that employees may notify their employers of the need for leave by phone, email, or text message.

The Ordinance further provides that unused, accrued sick leave does not need to be paid out upon termination or separation of employment.

Existing Policy

If a covered employer has a policy that allows employees paid time off in an amount and a manner that meets the requirements of the new Ordinance, the employer is not required to provide any additional paid leave.

Suggested Action

Employers with operations in Cook County should review the specifics of the Ordinance and ensure compliance. At the same time, employers should also keep an eye out for paid sick leave-related resolutions in the particular suburb in which they operate. According to an opinion by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, suburbs may opt out of the requirements of the Cook County Ordinance, and many suburbs are already in the process of passing resolutions that will exempt their local businesses.